How South Bend PD saved Christmas

Officers from South Bend PD deliver toys and food to families in need through FOP Lodge 36 Santa's Elficers program.
Published: Dec. 25, 2022 at 12:01 AM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Most families that celebrate Christmas are familiar with the classic holiday story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

In both the animated and Jim Carrey live-action versions, the Grinch steals all the gifts and food from the Whos, but eventually, he is overcome by holiday cheer, gives back what he stole, and is welcomed back with open arms.

But what happens when a real-life “grinch” tries to steal your holiday the night before Christmas?

Imagine returning home ready to prepare your holiday feast for Santa’s arrival, but when you walk through the door, there are no presents under the tree, and whoever took your children’s gifts also stole your holiday feast.

That was the reality for one South Bend Family, but with some quick thinking, South Bend’s boys in blue put on some red Hats and made sure, as they say in the movie, that Christmas came just the same.

South Bend Police received a call at 11 a.m. on Christmas Eve, and when they arrived at the home, they found something of a holiday horror.

“They found out that the house had been burglarized, and in the process, the individual had taken all the gifts and even some food out of their refrigerator,” South Bend Police Department Patrolman Brian Meador said. “So, they really left this family with nothing much at all.”

When hearing this type of police report around the holidays, one can’t help but think of Dr. Seuss’s famed holiday humbug, The Grinch.

“True life Grinch,” Officer Meador said. Yep, cleaned them out. Not even the Who-hash or the Roast Beast (was left). It was all taken.”

Upon seeing this genuinely heartbreaking scene, the responding officers reached out to Officer Meador, who is affiliated with South Bend’s FOP Lodge #36 and the “Santa’s Elficers” Program, which helps local families in need around the holidays.

“They asked if we had anything extra, and we keep items here at the station for just an instance like this,” Officer Meador explained.

Less than an hour later, multiple officers arrived, arms full of gifts and food, to replace what had been stolen earlier in the morning.

During this holiday season alone, Santa’s Elficers delivered gifts to over 400 local kids and food to families, so it just made sense to some of Santa’s best Elficers to help save Christmas for one more Michiana Family.

“This is really why we keep things here,” Officer Meador said. “It is a collaborative effort through the FOP #36, South Bend Police, and the Michiana Community. Without all the donations, we wouldn’t be able to do anything like this.”

Officer Meador says just seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids they help, he can take pride in knowing that South Bend Police stopped the Grinch from ruining Christmas.

“And when you see the kids, this morning I was able to go out and deliver the food and the gifts, and to see those little girl’s faces when they saw the presents under the tree and started playing with them, that’s why we do what we do,” Officer Meador said. “That’s the positive part, and that’s what keeps us going as officers. And so, I hope it’s a memory for them that’ll last a lifetime. Maybe someday, they’ll be in a position to give back.”

Officer Meador wanted to personally thank Officer Morgan, his wife Lauren, Officer Northcut, and Officer McMurray. “They are the MVPs of the program,” Officer Meador said. He also wanted to thank individual donors who made this holiday giving possible.

To all our viewers, friends, and families, Merry Christmas.